provides an in-depth article, updated in February 2017, about how to keep your children safe while riding in a car. These are based on American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations and provide the substance of our six car safety tips, along with information from

Overview of Car Seat/Booster Seat Selection

No one “best” car seat or booster seat exists and you should not make your purchasing decision based on price alone, the article notes. You should not use a used car seat if you don’t know the history of that seat or if it is too old, is visibly cracked or no longer has the manufacturer’s label with the seat’s date of manufacture and model number. Make sure you have the installation instructions if the seat is used.

Types of Car Seats

Young children stay safe when car seats are used appropriately. But, as increasing numbers of choices are available, making the right selection for the most car safety can feel overwhelming. Consider your child’s age and size and your vehicle type when making your choice.

The first type of car seat is rear-facing and is appropriate for infants and toddlers up to the age of 2 until they surpass the manufacturer weight and height recommendations. The second type is a forward-facing car seat, appropriate until your child exceeds the height and weight standards provided. Next, there is the booster seat, followed by seat belt use. Children younger than 13 always should ride in the back seat of the vehicle for further protection. Note that some car seats are convertible, which means they can first be used as a rear-facing seat and then a front-facing seat. shares more information about understanding car seat choices, as well as choosing the right one for your child. To make the choice easier, the site also provides a tool where you enter your child’s date of birth, weight and height, and receive recommendations according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s best practices.

Car Seat Installation

Once you’ve chosen the correct car seat for your child’s specifications, it’s crucial that it is appropriately installed. Instructions vary by manufacturer, so follow them exactly. Some car seats are installed using the vehicle’s seat belt; another option is the LATCH system (lower anchors and tethers for children) and some parents find LATCH an easier choice. Nearly all vehicles manufactured after September 1, 2002 have LATCH capabilities. “Vehicles with the LATCH system have lower anchors located in the back seat, where the seat cushions meet. Tether anchors are located behind the seat, either on the panel behind the seat (in sedans) or back of the seat, ceiling, or floor (in most minivans, SUVs, hatchbacks, and pickup trucks).” Find more installation instructions at

Booster Seat Installation

Once your child outgrows a car seat, a booster seat is appropriate until your child reaches 4 feet, 9 inches in height — and this is typically when he or she is 8 through 12 years of age. Before age 10 or 11, most children will not fit in vehicle seat belts without the addition of a booster seat. Similar to car seats, follow manufacturer instructions to install your booster seat, which either could be high-back or backless. These seats do not rely on harness straps, instead using the lap and shoulder seat belts that adults use in your vehicle. They raise your child up so the seat belt fits appropriately to protect him or her. Again, the article contains much more detailed instructions and tips.

Recall Notices

What happens when you purchase a car seat or booster seat, you follow best practice recommendations, but then it gets recalled? How would you know? First, register your car seat or booster seat and then sign up for email alerts.

Seat Belts for Older Children

You can find in-depth tips for older children at Summer Camp